I just have the most amazing luck with blog posts. I know I keep saying that, and it sounds a bit like a line, but it is so true. I don’t know if it’s that I’m being offered the opportunity to write about things that by kizmet are perfect for my life, if I’m good at twisting things around so that they are relevant, or if it’s just that I don’t take the opportunities that don’t fit 🙂
Regardless, Walmart knows that it’s summer vacation season and asked all of us Walmart Moms to write about “Summer Vacations” or “Summer Staycations”. . . and so I told them that Princess was heading off for her very first sleep away camp this summer and asked if I could write about that instead. Bingo! They thought that was perfect! After all, summer camp is like a vacation that only the kids get to go on.
So Princess is attending the same summer camp that my husband attended as a child–a Masonic camp in the Adirondacks called “Camp Turk”. I was pretty up to speed on what summer camp entails as I spent many summers myself as a child in Maine attending the YMCA’s “Camp Jordan”.
We took care of the preliminary things back in the early spring. Signing her up. Sending in the check. Reading the camp policies. Getting the camp physical done and sending it in. We even applied to our local Masonic Lodge (which her grandpa had been a member of for year and years) and received a very generous $100 scholarship! (Frugal tip: Always check for scholarships!)
Camp time was getting closer, so we printed out the packing list to see what we needed. Here’s what our list included–I’m going to say from my own camp experiences (as ancient as they may be) that this list is probably pretty standard for most camps:
Clothing ~ Pajamas ~ Bathrobe (if you have one) ~ Underclothes (1 wk) ~ Socks (1 wk) ~ Shorts ~ Shirts (some long sleeve) ~ Jeans ~ Sweater or heavy jacket ~ Two swimsuits ~ Raincoat
Sunscreen ~ Insect Repellent ~ Flashlight ~ Laundry Bag with camper’s name ~ CLOSED toed shoes ~ Notebook, pen, addressed envelopes & stamps to write home ~ Two beach towels ~ Suitcase to lock up valuables ~ Sleeping bag or blanket ~ Pillow & pillowcase ~ Towels & washcloths ~ Sneakers or old shoes for hiking
Soap ~Shampoo ~ Tooth paste ~ Toothbrush ~ Floss ~ Deodorant ~ Brush / Comb
Disposable camera ~ Fishing rod and tackle ~ Favorite baseball mitt, tennis racket, etc. ~ Extra eye glasses ~ Swim goggles ~ Radio ~ Books
I had Princess go through her stuff so see what we already had and what we would have to purchase. I think it is important for kids to take responsibility and learn to take care of themselves–so I make the child go through the process of laying everything out when we pack for any kind of trip, and then I just check it over to ensure that nothing important is forgotten. It’s a life skill!
When we had the double checked and adjusted list in hand we headed off to Walmart. For most of the clothing requirements we were set–bt we did need to pick up some shorts–Princess has grown since last summer. There were plenty of inexpensive and simple styles that would go with a wide range of tops (key for camp!) You can’t beat $4.97 for these basic sporty shorts for example.
Then we attacked the rest of the list. Our Walmart had a great display of summer travel sized items for $.97 each–we picked up all our camp sized toiletries and cases (ie toothbrush case, soap box etc) right there.
Note–we did go with the small travel size for several of the items, even though it might have been cheaper per oz to buy a full sized item. At camp you are going to have to carry your things to the bathroom and back each time, so we wanted something that would be easy to carry. The things that we purchased or have full sized (ie shampoo and lotion) will go into smaller travel sized bottles as well.
We got new inexpensive beach towels (I think they were $6 each). These are a bit thinner then most of the ones we have at home, which is good. I wanted towels that would actually dry out between swimming sessions! And although we have plenty of bath towels and washcloths at home we decided to get her a special set for camp. She fell in love with the zebra print (which I also thought would make her towel easy to find in the cabin!), but to save money I bought the hand towel and the washcloth in far less expensive solid colors.
We purchased a hanging toiletry bag which was zebra print on the exterior and pink on the interior. This was a bit more expensive then just buying a plastic bucket but with a little bit of care she should be able to use it at camp, trips, vacations, sleepovers etc for years. I’m looking at it as a longer term purchase.
Sunscreen and bugspray were purchased with pumps instead of aerosols per camp policies. I have been wanting a very basic radio for the house anyway (something we can use if the power goes out) so we purchased a small radio. Campers are not allowed to bring iPods or electronics, so an actual radio will have to suffice for music in the cabin.
I was also glad to find a simple cloth laundry bag in the laundry/ironing section at Walmart–and I picked up some Sharpies to label all her clothes and items. Things do have a way of walking away when you are at camp. . .
The flashlight we thought was particularly cool. Depending on how many times you hit the button you get different modes–one of which makes the entire handle glow green!
Between these purchases and the stuff we already have at home I think we are ready for camp. Princess is raring to go–she’s barely talked about anything else for a month! I just don’t know if Mama is ready to have her baby gone. . .